Premium compact car; Built in Germany
  • 2-door coupe
  • 4-door sedan
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $9,300 – $59,700*

2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Front

2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Rear

2008 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

2008 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Profile

  • Acceleration (V8 models)
  • Front-seat room/comfort
  • Quietness
  • Ride
  • Narrow trunk
  • Turn-signal-lever location
  • Rear-seat foot space

Within the confines of its compact dimensions, the latest C-Class acquits itself quite well. Others in this segment trump even the C350 Sport for all-out performance, but buyers seeking brand cachet and a refined driving experience would do well to check out this entry-level premium sedan. The C63 AMG falls in a separate performance (and price) class.


Mercedes-Benz’s premium compact C-Class sedan got a complete redesign for 2008, which left it slightly longer in wheelbase and overall length compared to the 2001-2007 version. Three models were offered. The C300 Luxury and C300 Sport editions held a 228-horsepower 3.0-liter V6. The C350 Sport used a 268-hp 3.5-liter V6. All came with a seven-speed automatic transmission except the C300 Sport, which had a standard six-speed manual transmission and offered the automatic as an option. Automatic-transmission rear-wheel-drive C300s could run on E85, a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. C300 models were available with Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive as an alternative to the standard rear-wheel drive.

Sport models had a sport suspension and unique interior and exterior styling. Standard safety features included antilock brakes, traction control, antiskid control, front side airbags, and curtain side airbags. Options included a navigation system (including a hard drive for storing digital music files), bi-xenon headlamps, and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat. C-Class competitors included the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, and Cadillac CTS.

During the 2008 model year, Mercedes-Benz launched a C63 AMG sedan tuned by the company’s performance division. The C63’s 6.2-liter V8 engine developed 451 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. C63 AMG sedans feature a unique power-dome hood.

Yearly Updates

2009 C-Class
A 10-way driver’s memory seat and steering column became standard on the C350 and optional for C300.
2010 C-Class
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz C-Class was available with some new features and option packages. Newly available on the 2010 Mercedes-Benz C-Class were keyless entry/engine start and a rearview camera. Newly standard were front hip-protecting side airbags. Newly available on rear-drive Sport models was a Dynamic Handling Package, which includes active suspension, specific 18-inch wheels, and steering-wheel shift paddles on cars with automatic transmission. An optional AMG P31 Development Package for the C63 included a 174-mph top-speed limiter and 30 additional horsepower, bringing the total to 481. The limited-slip differential that was previously included in the P31 package became a standalone option.
2011 C-Class
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is largely unchanged.
2012 C-Class
A host of changes marked the 2012 Mercedes C-Class. A coupe version was added, as was a 201-horsepower turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine used in the new base C250 models. Manual transmissions were dropped, but added were newly available rear-obstacle detection, blind-spot alert, and lane-departure warning. Late in the model year, the C350 Coupe became available with all-wheel drive; the only other models offering AWD were C300 sedans.
2013 C-Class
For 2013, there were several updates for the popular C300 4Matic sedan, most notably a more powerful V6 engine with a fuel-saving start-stop function. There was a new Sport Package for C250, C300, and C350 models that included revised exhaust tuning, specific interior trim, and 18-inch “twin 7-spoke” wheels. When ordered on coupes, the Sport Package also included a revised front suspension. C350 models also added a start-stop system. Finally, the new mbrace2 telematics system was now standard across the board.
2014 C-Class
For 2014, split-fold rear seats were made standard, and C350 models now used 18-inch wheels rather than 17s. There was also a new C63 AMG “Edition 507” package that raised horsepower to 507 and included unique interior and exterior trim pieces.


longitudinal front-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive

In the 2008-2012 C300s, a 3.0-liter V6 engine producing 228 horsepower mated with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission. In 2013, the C300 switched to a 3.5-liter V6 with 248 horsepower, but only came with the 7-speed automatic. The 2008-2011 C350s held a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 268 hp that came only with the automatic. The C350’s horsepower rating increased to 302 starting with the 2012 models. Topping the performance spectrum, the C63 AMG had a 6.2-liter V8 that generated 451 horsepower. For 2010, an optional AMG P31 Development Package for the C63 included a 174-mph top-speed limiter and 30 additional horsepower, bringing the total to 481. The optional Edition 507 package for the 2014 C63 raised the horsepower rating to 507. The new-for-2012 C250 came with a 201-hp turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and seven-speed automatic. All-wheel drive was initially available only on C300 sedans, though an AWD C350 coupe was added in late 2012.

Turbocharged dohc I44
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/110
Engine HP 201
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 229
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
7-speed automatic


dohc V61
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/183
Engine HP 228
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 221
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
7-speed automatic
dohc V66
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/213
Engine HP 248
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 251
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
7-speed automatic


dohc V62
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/213
Engine HP 268
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 258
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
7-speed automatic


dohc V65
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/213
Engine HP 302
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 273
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
7-speed automatic


dohc V83
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 6.2/379
Engine HP 451-481
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 465
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
7-speed automatic


1. C300; 2008-2012 models. 2. C350; 2008-2011 models. 3. C63 AMG. 4. C250. 5. C350; 2012-2014 models. 6. 300; 2013 and 2014 models. 7. C63 with Edition 507 package.

Road Test

C300 and new-for-2012 C250 models provide good acceleration both around town and in highway passing sprints. Mercedes estimated 0-60 mph acceleration at 7.1 seconds for both, which feels somewhat optimistic based on our tests. The C350 is stronger at all speeds, particularly in highway passing; Mercedes estimated 6.1-second 0-60–a somewhat more believable figure. In all, the automatic transmission operates smoothly but can be slow to downshift for more power. It’s also slow to respond to manual-shift inputs.

Fuel economy draws less praise. An automatic-transmission C300 averaged 24.5 mpg in mostly highway driving, but only 16.3 mpg with more city use. An AWD C300 averaged 17.8 mpg in a city/highway mix. Premium-grade fuel is required on all C-Class models, but C300s with the automatic transmission can run on E85 ethanol. We have had no opportunity to check fuel economy on the C250 that was introduced for 2012.

All C-Class models exhibit a commendable blend of compliance and control. Tar strips and rough pavement generate little disturbance. Although Sport models have a slightly tauter suspension than Luxury versions-and the tested C350 Sport was optioned with stiffer 18-inch tires-there’s little difference in ride quality between the two.

Sport models with 18-inch tires have slightly sharper steering response, but all C-Class sedans corner with sure-footed aplomb and little body lean. Steering is a bit numb but properly weighted. Braking control is strong and progressive, though one test model suffered from touchy pedal action.

Slight wind rush is noticed at highway speeds. Coarse pavement prompts a roar from the tires, but they quiet considerably on smooth asphalt and there is little noise over bumps. Engines emit a sweet whine under full throttle, cruise quietly, and idle almost imperceptibly.

Gauges are easy to read. Climate controls consist of convenient rotary dials and clearly marked buttons; though mounted low, they are easy to reach. Audio controls are more complicated. Basic functions can be performed with a convenient knob and buttons, but other operations are addressed through a console-mounted “joyknob” and dashtop screen, which also control the optional navigation system. That navigation system is difficult to use, with many controls buried in a series of menus and submenus. The MP3/iPod plug is inconveniently located inside the glovebox. Per Mercedes tradition, the low-mounted turn-signal lever is easily confused with the high-mounted cruise-control stalk. Nicely padded surfaces and upscale trim are appropriate to the price class. Test examples have felt commendably solid over bumps.

Front seats are supportive and comfortable. The steering wheel tilts and telescopes, and even taller folks should find adequate headroom and legroom. When backing up, there’s little problem seeing around the tall but narrow front headrests and slender rear roof pillars. Front pillars are narrow, too, but side pillars are thick enough to hinder the view over the left shoulder.

In the rear, the seat cushion is mounted a bit low but gives six-footers adequate headroom. Toe space is tight, but legroom is fine unless the front seats are pushed far back. Exiting is hindered by door openings that are narrow, particularly at the bottom.

The C-Class trunk is narrow, but lid hinges are covered and the area is quite deep and nicely trimmed. Split-folding rear seatbacks have been optional. Interior storage is adequate at best, with a somewhat skimpy center console box, two open console cupholders, and a decent-sized glovebox.


Model Tested: 2009 C300 Luxury

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 6
Fuel Economy - 5
Ride Quality - 7
Steering/Handling - 7
Quietness - 8


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 8

Total: 62


2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
108.7 180.7 69.7 54.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
11.7 17.4 4.0
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.0 35.5 42.0 33.0
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
108.7 182.3 69.7 56.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
12.4 17.4 5.0
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.1 36.9 41.7 33.4
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 C-Class 4-door sedan


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Rear Passenger Injury - 5


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Climate control
Description: The climate control may not function properly if snow enters through the cowl and a revised cowl has been released to retrofit. (2008-09)
Engine knock
Description: A knocking noise while parking is caused by the hydro-bushing for which an improved bushing has been issued. (2008-09)
Fuel pump
Description: The engine may not start after hot soak, but restart after cooling due to faulty control unit for the fuel pump. (2008-09)
Description: The sunroof may not close automatically or the rain-closing feature may not work due to loss of VIN in control module located in overhead console which requires reflashing. (2008-09)
Water leak
Description: Air conditioning condensation hose can leak water under front seats. (2011-14)
Electrical problem
Description: Malfunction in fuse or relay boxes may result in the engine not starting. (2012-13)
Description: A warning of low oil level or to add oil at the next stop, although the oil level is fine on the dipstick, may be due to the wrong dipstick, a faulty oil level switch of software error. (2008-09)
Navigation system
Description: Navigation system may not correctly change route when driver doesn’t exactly follow the directions given. (2013-14)

Recall History

2008 C-Class
Description: Software calibration could be incorrect, affecting various safety and emissions functions, including fuel-level readout
2008 C-Class
Description: Rear outboard seat belts may not comply with lockability standard, which requires lap-belt portion to be locked; mechanism may not perform as required when used with older non-latch child restraints.
2010 C-Class model 204
Description: The power steering system may fail due to the loss of power steering fluid. Owners may not have sufficient control of the vehicle in areas, such as parking lots, where maximum power steering is required, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash. Dealers will check and retorque the connection fitting free of charge.
2011-12 C300
Description: Fuel-filter flange may crack under high temperatures, resulting in a leak and possibly a fire.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


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